Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 30:17

The eye that mocks a father And scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Burial;   Children;   Mother;   Raven;   Thompson Chain Reference - Birds;   Children;   Filial Honour;   Home;   Honour;   Mocking;   Mothers;   Ravens;   Respect;   Ridicule;   Ungrateful Children;   Young People;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children, Wicked;   Raven, the;   Valleys;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eye;   Proverb, the Book of;   Raven;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Raven;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Shiloh (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Birds;   Eye;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Agur;   Jakeh;   Massa;   Proverb;   Proverbs, Book of;   Raven;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eagle;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Raven;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Eagle;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ravels;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Crime;   Eagle;   Eye;   Mock;   Raven;   Relationships, Family;   Woman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ben Naphtali;   Eagle;   Family and Family Life;   Father;   Mother;   Raven;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The eye that mocketh at his father - This seems to be spoken against those who curse their father, and do not bless their mother, Proverbs 30:11.

The ravens of the valley - Those which frequent the places where dead carcasses and offal are most likely to be found. The raven, the crow, the rook, the daw, the carrion crow, and the Cornish chough, appear to be all of the same genus. Some of them live on pulse and insects; others, the raven in particular, live on carrion.

The young eagles shall eat it - The mother eagle shall scoop out such an eye, and carry it to the nest to feed her young. Many of the disobedient to parents have come to an untimely end, and, in the field of battle, where many a profligate has fallen, and upon gibbets, have actually become the prey of ravenous birds.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-30.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The eye that mocketh at his father,.... At his advice, admonitions, and instructions; looks upon him with scorn and disdain, and treats him as a weak, silly, old man: here Agur returns to the first generation he had observed;

and despiseth to obey his mother; her orders and commands: or, "the obedience of his mother"F19ליקהת אם "obediantiam matris", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis; "doctrinam", Vatablus, Tigurine version; "disciplinam", Castalio; "obsequium matris", Schultens. ; her discipline and instruction, having no regard to it. The word is rendered "gathering" in Genesis 49:10; and Jarchi interprets it of the gathering of wrinkles in her face: and so the Targum, Arabic, and Syriac versions render it, "the old age of his mother"; despising her as an old foolish woman; see Proverbs 23:22; להק, in the Ethiopic language, signifies to "grow old", from whence the word here used, by a transposition of letters, may be derived; and Mr. CastellF20Lexic. col. 1960. observes, that the royal prophet, among others, seems to have taken this word from the queen of Sheba;

the ravens of the valley, shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it; it signifies, that such persons shall come to an untimely end, and an ignominious death; either be drowned in a river, when floating upon it, or cast upon the banks of it, the ravens that frequent such places, and are most cruel and voracious, should feed upon them: or they should be hanged on a tree, or be crucifiedF21"Non pasces in cruce corvos", Horat. Ep. 16. ad Quinctium, v. 48. , where birds of prey would light upon them; and particularly pick out their eyes and eat them, as being softest and sweetest to them; therefore first aim at them, and of which birds, and especially ravens, are very fondF23"Hic prior in cadaveribus oculum petit", Isidor. Origin. l. 12. c. 7. "Effossos oculos vorat corvus", Catullus ad Cominium, Ep. 105. v. 5. ; and is a just retaliation for their scornful and disdainful looks at their parent. This may figuratively design the black devils of hell, the posse of them in the air, who are sometimes compared to the fowls thereof; to whom such unnatural and disobedient children shall become a prey; see Matthew 13:4.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-30.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The eye [that] mocketh at [its] father, and despiseth to obey [its] mother, the ravens i of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

(i) Which hunt in the valley for carrion.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-30.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The eye — for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery and contempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.

the ravens … eagles … eat — either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

The proverb of the ‛Alûka is the first of the proverbs founded on the figure of an animal among the “words” of Agur. It is now followed by another of a similar character:

17 An eye that mocketh at his father,

And despiseth obedience to his mother:

The ravens of the brook shall pluck it out,

And the young eagles shall eat it.

If “an eye,” and not “eyes,” are spoken of here, this is accounted for by the consideration that the duality of the organ falls back against the unity of the mental activity and mental expression which it serves (cf. Psychol . p. 234). As haughtiness reveals itself (Proverbs 30:13) in the action of the eyes, so is the eye also the mirror of humble subordination, and also of malicious scorn which refuses reverence and subjection to father and mother. As in German the verbs [ verspotten, spotten, höhnen, hohnsprechen signifying to mock at or scorn may be used with the accus., genit., or dat., so also לעג [to deride] and בּוּז [to despise] may be connected at pleasure with either an accusative object or a dative object. Ben-Chajim, Athias, van der Hooght, and others write תּלעג ; Jablonski, Michaelis, Löwenstein, תּלעג, Mühlau, with Norzi, accurately, תּלעג, with Munach, like תּבחר, Psalms 65:5; the writing of Ben-Asher

(Note: The Gaja has its reason in the Zinnor that follows, and the Munach in the syllable beginning with a moveable Sheva ; תּלעג with Scheva quiesc . must, according to rule, receive Mercha, vid ., Thorath Emeth, p. 26.)

is תּלעג, with Gaja, Chateph, and Munach . The punctuation of ליקהת is more fluctuating. The word לקהת ( e.g., Cod. Jaman .) may remain out of view, for the Dag. dirimens in ק stands here as firmly as at Genesis 49:10, cf. Psalms 45:10. But it is a question whether one has to write ליקּהת with Yod quiesc . (regarding this form of writing, preferred by Ben-Naphtali, the Psalmen-Comm . under Psalms 45:10, in both Edd.; Luzzatto's Gramm . §193; Baer's Genesis, p. 84, note 2; and Heidenheim's Pentateuch, with the text-crit. Comm . of Jekuthiël ha-Nakdans, under Genesis 47:17; Genesis 49:10), as it is found in Kimchi, Michlol 45a, and under יקה, and as also Norzi requires, or ליקּהת (as e.g., Cod. Erfurt 1), which appears to be the form adopted by Ben-Asher, for it is attested

(Note: Kimchi is here no authority, for he contradicts himself regarding such word-forms. Thus, regarding ויללת, Jeremiah 25:36, in Michlol 87b, and under ילל . The form also wavers between כּיתרון and כּיתרון, Ecclesiastes 2:13. The Cod. Jaman . has here the Jod always quiesc .)

as such by Jekuthiël under Genesis 49:10, and also expressly as such by an old Masora-Cod. of the Erfurt Library. Löwenstein translates, “the weakness of the mother.” Thus after Rashi, who refers the word to קהה, to draw together, and explains it, Genesis 49:10, “collection;” but in the passage before us, understands it of the wrinkles on the countenance of the aged mother. Nachmani (Ramban) goes still further, giving to the word, at Genesis 49:10, everywhere the meaning of weakness and frailty. Aben Ezra also, and Gersuni (Ralbag), do not go beyond the meaning of a drawing together; and the lxx, with the Aram., who all translate the word by senectus , have also קהה in the sense of to become dull, infirm (certainly not the Aethiopic leh e ḳa, to become old, weak through old age). But Kimchi, whom the Venet . and Luther

(Note: Jerome translates, et qui despicit partum matris suae . To partus there separates itself to him here the signification expectatio , Genesis 49:10, resting on a false combination with קוה . To think of pareo, parui, paritum (Mühlau), was not yet granted to him.)

follow, is informed by Abulwalîd, skilled in the Arab., of a better: יקהה (or יקּהה, cf. נצּרה, Psalms 141:3) is the Arab. wakhat, obedience ( vid ., above יקה under 1a). If now it is said of such a haughty, insolent eye, that the ravens of the brook (cf. 1 Kings 17:4) will pluck it out, and the בני־נשׁר eat it, they, the eagle's children, the unchildlike human eye: it is only the description of the fate that is before such an one, to die a violent death, and to become a prey to the fowls of heaven (cf. e.g., Jeremiah 16:3., and Passow's Lex . under κόραξ ); and if this threatening is not always thus literally fulfilled, yet one has not on that account to render the future optatively, with Hitzig; this is a false conclusion, from a too literal interpretation, for the threatening is only to be understood after its spirit, viz., that a fearful and a dishonourable end will come to such an one. Instead of יקּרוּה, as Mühlau reads from the Leipzig Cod., יקרוה, with Mercha (Athias and Nissel have it with Tarcha ), is to be read, for a word between Olewejored and Athnach must always contain a conjunctive accent ( Thorath Emeth, p. 51; Accentuationssystem, xviii. §9). ערבי־נחל is also irregular, and instead of it ערבי־נחל is to be written, for the reason given above under Proverbs 30:16 ( מים ).

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-30.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

The eye — He that scorneth or derideth his parents, tho' it be but with a look or gesture, and much more when he breaks out into opprobrious words and actions.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 30:17 The eye [that] mocketh at [his] father, and despiseth to obey [his] mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Ver. 17. The eye that mocketh at his father.] As Ham did at Noah. "And despiseth to obey his mother," or ‘Despiseth the wrinkles of his mother,’ as some read it; that looks upon her with disdain, as an old withered fool.

The ravens of the valley shall pick it out.] God takes notice of the offending member, and appoints punishments for it. By the law such a child was to be put to death, and here is set down what kind of death - hanging upon a tree, which the Greeks also call a being cast, εις κορακας, to the crows or ravens. Thus the Scripture is both text and gloss; one place opens another; the prophets explain the law; they unfold and draw out that arras (a) that was folded together before. The ravens of the valleys or brooks are said to be most ravenous; (b) and the young eagles or vultures smell out carcases, and the first thing they do to them is to pick out their eyes: Effossos oculos voret atro gutture corvus. They are cursed with a witness whom the Holy Ghost thus curseth in such emphatic manner, in such exquisite terms. (c) Let wicked children look to it, and know that vultu saepe laeditur pietas, as the very heathens observed; that a proud or paltry look cast upon a parent is a breach of piety punishable with death, yea, with a shameful and ignominious death. Let them also think of those infernal ravens and vultures, &c.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-30.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 30:17. Despiseth to obey his mother Despiseth the old age of his mother. "They who are guilty of such enormous ingratitude to their parents, shall come to an infamous end, and their dead bodies shall be exposed for a prey to the ravens which frequent the brooks that run into the vallies, and to the young eagles, who shall pick out those eyes in which their scorn and derision of their parents was wont to appear."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-30.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The eye that mocketh at his father; he that scorneth or derideth his parents, though it be but with a look or gesture, and much more when he breaks out into opprobrious words and actions.

The ravens of the valley shall pick it out; he shall die an unnatural, and untimely, and ignominious death, and after death shall lie unburied, and so be exposed to the birds and beasts of prey, and, amongst others, to the crows or ravens, who use to feed upon dead carcasses, and particularly to pick out their eyes, as is noted by all sorts of writers; of which see my Latin Synopsis. He saith, the ravens oft he valley, either because they most delight in valleys, or with a particular respect unto that valley near Jerusalem, which was called the valley of dead bodies, Jeremiah 31:40, from the carcasses cast out there, to which therefore the ravens resorted in great numbers, according to their manner or, as others render, the ravens of the brooks, because they are of a hot and dry temper, and therefore delight in places adjacent to the brooks of water.

The young eagle; which also preyeth upon dead carcasses and especially upon their eyes, as the ravens do, the reason being the same in both, whether it be the softness of that part which makes it more easy to them to take, or from the pleasant taste of it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17.Eye that mocketh — The expression is used to denote the “mocking” or cursing child; not merely the disobedient, but the rebellious one.

Despiseth to obey — Spurns the control of. It is the same word, with the addition of a single letter marking the feminine gender, which is taken as a proper noun in the first verse and there read jakeh.

The ravens of the valley (or brook) shall pick it out — We observe that in attacking a body or carcass, ravens strike first at the eye as a favourite part. Hence bodies of men or beasts left exposed where such fowls have access to them are found with their eyes picked out. The passage, therefore, may be equivalent to a declaration that such an unworthy, irreverent, and disobedient son, shall die a felon’s death, and become, as was often the case, a prey to ravens and eagles.

Young eagles — Literally, sons of the eagle.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-30.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Disrespect for one"s parents is as bad as arrogance and greed. Agur"s graphic descriptions visualize the terrible consequences of this folly. Whereas we should obey our parents as long as we live under their authority, we should honor them all our lives. We should do so simply because they have given us physical life, if for no other reason. This proverb warns that severe punishment awaits those who disrespect their parents.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-30.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 30:17. The eye that mocketh at his father — He that scorneth or derideth his parents, though it be but with a look or gesture, and much more when he breaks out into opprobrious words and actions; the ravens of the valley shall pick it out — “They who are guilty of such an enormous ingratitude to their parents shall come to an infamous end, and their dead bodies shall be exposed for a prey to the ravens which frequent the brooks that run in the valleys, and to the young eagles, which shall pick out those eyes in which their scorn and derision of their parents were wont to appear.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-30.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Labour. Septuagint, &c., "old age." Hebrew, "the obedience or admonition." Those who curse their parents, were sentenced to death, Leviticus xx. 6.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-30.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

despiseth to obey = despiseth obedience to.

The ravens, &c. These birds of prey always begin with the eyes of a carcase.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-30.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

The eye (that) mocketh at (his) father, and despiseth to obey (his) mother, the ravens of the valley (which build their nests in solitary valleys) shall pick it out - he shall be put to a death of shame, and his carcass become a prey to ravenous birds (Proverbs 20:20; Exodus 21:15-17). The eye especially is attacked by birds of prey.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) The ravens of the valley shall pick it out—i.e., the rebellious son shall die of a “grievous death” (Jeremiah 16:4). The propensity of ravens to attack the eyes is well known.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-30.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
eye
11; 20:20; 23:22; Genesis 9:21-27; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; 2 Samuel 18:9,10,14-17
the ravens
1 Samuel 17:44; 2 Samuel 21:10
valley
or, brook.
Reciprocal: Genesis 9:22 - told;  Genesis 27:43 - obey;  Genesis 28:7 - GeneralGenesis 40:19 - hang thee;  Exodus 20:12 - Honour;  Exodus 21:15 - GeneralExodus 21:17 - curseth;  Leviticus 11:15 - GeneralLeviticus 19:3 - fear;  2 Samuel 15:3 - there is;  Proverbs 1:8 - hear;  Proverbs 15:20 - despiseth;  Proverbs 19:26 - wasteth;  Ezekiel 22:7 - set;  Micah 7:6 - son;  Malachi 1:6 - son;  Matthew 15:4 - He;  Matthew 19:19 - Honour;  Mark 7:10 - Whoso;  Romans 1:30 - disobedient;  Ephesians 6:1 - obey;  Colossians 3:20 - obey;  1 Timothy 1:9 - murderers;  Hebrews 12:9 - we gave

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-30.html.